Fully Digested Review: Forever Losing Sleep, ‘I Lost Myself Again’
Here’s a very quick re-introduction to fully digested reviews. We’re going to talk about records we’ve had the chance to listen to and talk about without all of the bias of it being something brand new to us. These are record we love and records that we want to talk about. Enjoy.
“I asked to be left alone, well I got what I asked for and more. And the worst part is, I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s no saving me anymore.” Last summer I purchased a used Fender Telecaster from an acquaintance back home in Jersey, and as luck would have it I gained more than just a new toy to play with. I gained three things that day: the guitar obviously, a new friendship I genuinely enjoyed, and an introduction to a certain band I am enthralled to now know of. It didn’t take long for me to notice the ads on Facebook, and since I became friends with someone (Dave) who happened to be active in the music scene back home, it started popping up everywhere. Once I finally took the time to click and explore, it was love at literally the first faded riffs of “Trophied.” It’s a genre of music I can only describe as beautifully exhausting. It’s gritty. It’s melancholic. It’s pure. But also it’s honest, thought-out, and melodic music. It’s deep and passionate while being bitterly abrasive and rough. It’s bliss. It’s something I’ve never experienced or even expected from a new band releasing their debut album. It’s Forever Losing Sleep. And I’ve lost myself again in listening to it.
“There is nothing pure running through these veins anymore.” Lyrics like this (supplied by the title track) are reasons why ‘I Lost Myself Again’ is such an influential and special album. They’re simplistic enough to understand exactly what the singer has experienced in his life but they’re also surprisingly full of life, even if the subject matter is about as hollow as you can get. It takes a unique quality to so effortlessly and excellently mix this lyrical style with a post-rock melodic musical undertone. The mood is somber yet refined and perfectly okay with not mincing words; these guys mean what they say and say what they mean, quite explicitly. “I’m screaming ‘I wish you the best’ from this God damn hole.” You don’t just hear the pure aggression and angst during the latter half of “Havre De Grace”, you can can feel the words like bone-chattering cold and bitter winds being hurled directly on your exposed neck in the depths of winter. It’s depressingly uplifting in a way, providing even the most foregone with an outlet to unleash their angst through pure expression. This is an escape from the modern ideal of a picturesque life to a brilliant exploration into the postmodern cliffs of earth-shattering depression and sadness. And it’s done so wholly honest and true you can’t help but fall in love.
“Maybe it’s all my fault that everything I love always falls apart, maybe I deserve this.” I’d never want to feel this alone and empty, but to Forever Losing Sleep, it’s a trait worth striving for. The entirety of ‘I Lost Myself Again’ utilizes this and plays it like the cherished motif it desperately needs to be. This is the kind of emo that begs to be listened to at 3am while you’re at the your absolute worst. “I’m tired, I’m worn out, I’ve lost all the faith that I have in myself.” These lyrics follow a bass line so entrenched at the bottom of the sea, you can feel the depths of the ocean rising up to your temples while being succumbed to the overwhelming pressure before losing yourself (again). This moment, this singular occurrence of true turmoil ultimately leads the listener into a finale of rebirth that is “Miracle”; an awakening of sorts as you slowly drift up to the surface of the lake and can finally breathe. In essence, it’s a story of death and retribution, with the key being to know precisely when and how to go full-throttle or turn it down a notch. This reflects both in the lyrics and music, as the band is fully aware of how to handle this delicate balance between the two in harsh juxtaposition and beautiful complementary.
“And I still hear you in the other room letting it all out. What was I to do. Wishing to hold you up but being too weak. I was just a child falling short of who my father would have wanted me to be.” I wish I knew the members of the band, just so I could get a brief and passing glimpse into their lives and the trials that went into the writing and recording of ‘I Lost Myself Again.’ Being from New Jersey, it elevated the band’s status in my eyes, and this manifested itself into almost a frenzy of obsession. As of this writing, I’ve listened to the album front-to-back 50 times (and that’s probably not accounting for the times my phone has glitched out on me). I listen to it on the bus, in the car, at 2am while I’m ~forever~ losing sleep, but most importantly I listen to it being fully aware of the emotions ravaging my eardrums and not letting them affect me. My lyrical analysis thus far has seen me linking together phrases from books with the constant refrain that is the record title, but in more-than-I-can-count times, it’s all brought me back dreary-eyed and the lowest of the low. For the mind who wrote this album, I am so sorry, but thank you. Thank you for speaking out the horrors our minds can dream up and scare us to death. Thank you for being the voice that speaks loudest in the dark. Thank you, sincerely. This is not a self-help book, this is a diary. And the best part is that you took it very seriously and to heart, so please congratulate yourself for that.
“You should’ve let me die that night on the couch. And you should’ve let me rot in your stomach.” In what can only be described as a brutally haunting song, “Esprit D’Escalier” gives off a macabre and chilling vibe from its onset, which never quite leaves the listener at all, even long after the record is over, let alone its opener. Here we see our protagonist fail in the most disturbing way possible: “Where were you that night that a daughter lost her innocence against her will? Because I expected you to show your face, but you never came and you never will.” Just let that lyric sink in a bit and tell me that emo isn’t bleeding profusely through every vein in this record’s creation and execution. I still get chills hearing that line. And for me, the dissonant and lingering feedback at the close of the song is further confirmation that Forever Losing Sleep know exactly what they’re doing, both in songwriting and promotion of their unique talent in the emo/post-rock musical landscape. I love how the structure of the album is slightly mirrored, as the middle takes a brief respite in both “Widows,” which was re-recorded from their 2012 sampler, and “I Lost Myself Again”.
“This is the last time I’ll pick myself up off the floor. I am shaking, I am shaking, I have never felt this cold.” This leaves the bookends to stamp the trademark of aggression through volume, powerful distortion, and yelled-gang vocals; showcased tracks 3 and 6, “Trophied” and “Havre De Grace.” Both were released shortly before the album for promotion and both are flawless works of art, crafted beautifully with such attention to detail that it’s no surprise FLS are becoming known for them. From the depths of despair do we see the former, in the same light as “The Only Constant” from Grandview’s 2013 debut (also an excellent album), as “Trophied” seeks to cement Forever Losing Sleep’s reputation in harrowing feedback effects and cathartic shrieks such as the one found in its explosion: I’ll just pretend that I can be fixed. Because some things are meant to be broken and I am one of them. A silhouette of what was never meant. So stay away, it would be best to keep your distance.” Not only is this their quintessential track, supplying an intense emotional build and allowing it to occur naturally out of the ashes that was “Twitch,” but the band knows full well where its strong points are, and plays them precisely at the perfect time.
>“If your heaven’s real, I hope that you are looking down at me knowing I spent mine with you. And I have tried to fight the urge to join you, but I still feel the void, I still feel the ache. I’m still incomplete.” I too, am incomplete. Incomplete in my fandom for this wonderful, haunting, and again beautifully exhausting record. My listening experience with ‘I Lost Myself Again’ is missing one very important facet, one that I cannot ignore or put off for any longer. My need to belt the lyrics directly back into the band’s faces, my need to get shoved around like a ragdoll as the solo in “Take” occurs, my need to see this band perform anything from this album. Soon. Real soon.